The Losses of Lawsuits
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? …Do you not know that we shall judge angels? 1 Corinthians 6:1-3
How dare you?
Has anyone ever said that to you? It gets your attention, doesn’t it? That’s how Paul starts his whole discussion about lawsuits.
How dare you sue a brother or sister in Christ? How dare you drag the name of Jesus through the mud before an unbelieving judge? How dare you forget that you will one day judge both the world and the angels? How dare you?
This is strong language, so maybe you’re wondering what the big deal is. The deal is that your witness is at stake.
The world loves when the church airs its dirty laundry publicly. They love it because it gives them room to say, See, Jesus didn’t do anything for you; you’re just like the rest of us.
And you know the root of that, right? If they can imagine that we are just like everyone else, then there’s no reason for them to listen to us when we speak the gospel. There’s no reason for them to repent, to change their lives, to listen to God, to live for Him. If Christians act just as lost as the rest of the world, then why would the world see any need to believe in Christians’ God?
Before you know it, you’ve lost your witness before the world because, first, you can’t get along with your brothers and sisters in Christ, and second, when you do have an issue you look to the world for justice.
What are we supposed to do instead? Two things-first, on the occasion that you do have a dispute with a brother or sister in Christ, it is to be brought before fellow believers for justice. This is not a gossip group, but an elder with wisdom to issue a just verdict. Second, if there is no wise believer to whom you can turn, then prefer to be wronged. Yes, I said it, and Paul said it too; prefer to be wronged over seeking justice from unbelievers.
We need to realize that this shouldn’t even be an issue, that disagreements would be so prevalent among us that we would need to talk about this. But in the case that an issue needs solved, these are our instructions.
Let’s follow our instructions and preserve our witness.
Prayer Lord Jesus,
You are our ultimate example of justice, forgiving us even as you hung on the cross. Please help me to follow in Your example, preferring to give mercy than to seek justice from unbelievers. Please also raise up godly, wise leaders throughout Your body to lead us in justice.